After setting a franchise record with 128 points during the 2018-19 regular season, the Tampa Bay Lightning were unceremoniously swept by Columbus in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tampa Bay has not been denied since, becoming just the second team to win back-to-back championships since Detroit accomplished the feat in 1997 and 1998. The Lightning begin the defense of their most recent title on Tuesday, when they open the 2021-22 NHL season against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins. Tampa Bay is looking to win the Atlantic Division for the third straight time during a full 82-game season while Pittsburgh aims for its first Metropolitan title since 2013-14.

The puck is set to drop at 7:30 p.m. ET at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay is the -240 favorite (risk $240 to win $100) on the money line in the latest Lightning vs. Penguins odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while Pittsburgh is the +200 underdog. The over-under for total goals scored is six. Before making any Penguins vs. Lightning picks or any other NHL predictions, you need to see what Sportsline’s No. 1 NHL expert Matt Severance has to say.

Severance is a well-connected writer and handicapper who has worked in the industry since 2005. He dominated the NHL last season by going a whopping 158-104 on money-line NHL picks, returning over $1,400 for the $100 bettor.

Now, Severance has set his sights on Lightning vs. Penguins and just revealed his expert picks for the NHL season opener. You can head to SportsLine now to see his NHL picks and analysis. Here are several NHL betting lines and trends for Penguins vs. Lightning:

  • Lightning vs. Penguins money line: Tampa Bay -240, Pittsburgh +200
  • Lightning vs. Penguins over-under: 6 goals 
  • Lightning vs. Penguins puck line: Tampa Bay -1.5 (+115)
  • TB: The Lightning are 51-19 in their last 70 home games 
  • PIT: The Penguins are 0-5 in their last five contests at Tampa Bay
Featured Game | Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Why the Lightning can win

Tampa Bay boasts one of the best goaltenders in the NHL in Andrei Vasilevskiy, who led the league last season with 31 wins and captured the Conn Smythe Trophy after helping guide the team to its second straight championship. The 27-year-old Russian posted a career-best 2.21 goals-against average in 2020-21 and also matched his personal high with a .925 save percentage. Vasilevskiy has finished in the top three in voting for the Vezina Trophy each of the last four seasons, winning the award in 2019. 

After missing the entire 56-game regular season in 2020-21 due to hip surgery, Nikita Kucherov returned for the playoffs and led all players with 32 points in 23 contests. It was the second straight postseason scoring title claimed by the 28-year-old Russian, who won the Art Ross Trophy in the NHL’s last full 82-game campaign with a career-high 128 points. Brayden Point, who has led the league in goals each of the last two postseasons and tallied in nine straight playoff contests in 2020-21, topped the Lightning in both goals (23) and points (48) last season.  

Why the Penguins can win

Pittsburgh will be relying heavily on its defense and goaltending with top offensive players Sidney Crosby (wrist), Evgeni Malkin (knee) and Jake Guentzel (COVID) all sidelined. Veteran Kris Letang is the leader on the blue line and also can contribute offensively, as he was third on the team with 45 points last season. A six-time All-Star, the 34-year-old is the Penguins’ all-time leader among defenseman in goals (134), assists (448) and points.

Acquired from Los Angeles in April, Jeff Carter will be expected to produce in the absence of Crosby and Malkin. The 36-year-old center, who registered his first career four-goal performance on May 6 against Buffalo, has eclipsed the 20-goal plateau 11 times. Right wing Bryan Rust finished just two goals behind team leader Crosby last season with 22, marking the second straight campaign the 29-year-old scored 20 or more.

How to make Lightning vs. Penguins picks

Severance is leaning under on total goals scored. He’s also found an X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the money line. You can see his NHL picks and predictions only on SportsLine.

So who wins Lightning vs. Penguins? And what X-factor makes one side of the money line a huge value? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Penguins vs. Lightning money line you need to jump on Tuesday, all from the expert who crushed his NHL money-line picks in 2020-21, and find out.